Although Hox genes are expressed over broad domains, they control cell diversification and patterning in very localised regions within their expression domains. In a study on midgut morphogenesis in Drosophila,Grienenberger et al. describe how cell-type specificity and diversity is conferred on the activity of the Hox protein Abdominal A (AbdA) by Decapentaplegic (Dpp)/Tgfβ signalling (see p. 5445). They identify a new enhancer region in the wingless (wg) gene,and show that AbdA can only induce wg transcription in the presence of Mad, a transcriptional effector of the Dpp pathway. Dpp is secreted by parasegment 7 (PS7) of the embryonic midgut, and thus, although AbdA is expressed and active in parasegments PS8 to PS12, wg transcription is limited to PS8 because it is only here that Hox function and Dpp signalling converge.